The first prototype OG2 satellite was launched as a secondary payload on a Cargo Re-Supply Services (CRS-1) mission aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral on October 7.
The OG2 was successfully separated from the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, however, due to an anomaly on one of the Falcon 9’s first stage engines, the rocket did not comply with a pre-planned International Space Station (ISS) safety gate to allow it to execute the second burn.
For this reason, the OG2 prototype satellite was therefore deployed into an orbit that was lower than intended.
Despite initial hopes that it may still be possible to move the satellite to a viable position, ORBCOMM has since conceded that the mission was a total loss has filed a notice of claim under its launch insurance policy.
The maximum amount covered by the policy is $10 million, which ORBCOMM says would largely offset the expected cost of the OG2 prototype and associated launch services and launch insurance.
On the positive side, notwithstanding the shortened life of the OG2 prototype, the company notes that the OG2 programme engineering teams were able to make “significant strides” in testing various hardware components during the mission.
ORBCOMM says that, after telemetry and command capability was established, several critical system verifications were performed and that the solar array and communications payload antenna deployments were successful.
Verification of the performance of various components of both the OG2 satellite bus and the communications payload was also concluded satisfactorily, while the OG2 satellite bus systems including power, attitude control, thermal and data handling were similarly tested to verify proper operation.
With this verification data, ORBCOMM says it can now focus on completing and launching the OG2 satellites as the primary mission payloads on two planned Falcon 9 launches, the first in mid-2013 and the second in 2014, directly into their operational orbit.
The company notes that had ORBCOMM been the primary payload on this failed mission, as planned for the upcoming launches, it believes that the OG2 prototype would have reached the desired orbit.